Punch Store Press Habano | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano 2000
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Costa Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Nicaraguan
Size: 6.5 x 54 Torpedo
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $9.99

This is a limited release from 2020. Information was not exactly flowing from any press release and nothing about it on the Punch Cigars website.
Only one or two written reviews. I tried one a few days in and was impressed. I had planned on reviewing it right away and then I got sick. Therefore, there is only 30+ naked humidor days on this stick. Hey, I’m getting broken in here after being away…so, work with me.

My only hesitation is I’ve not smoked a big Torpedo like this baby since I’ve gotten well. I may transcend several stages of unbecoming behavior. I’ve donned my crash helmet, with the added protection of thick aluminum foil, and confirmed that my seat belts are in place.

With its minor issues of awkward veins permeating the stick, I find it quite gorgeous. In plain room light, the wrapper glistens with oiliness. It is very toothy like your cat’s tongue. Seams are tight. The cap looks good. The press has rounded corners. But in bright light, the wrapper gives off hues of rust, burnt umber, and an appealing mottling of dark and light shadows. A pretty cigar. And no skulls!

The aromas aren’t barn burners. All faint and requiring significant focus to pick them out…milk chocolate, creaminess, dried fruit, mild black pepper, cedar, barnyard, blackberries, malt, and a bit of butterscotch.

The cold draw presents flavors of rich and creamy milk chocolate, black pepper, cedar, malt, raisins, a lemon twist, a hint of black licorice, and espresso.

The flow of air in this tightly packed cigar is flawless. I peel my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool out of my craw (“The Craw! Not the Craw!). I mean, really…a “Get Smart” reference no one will get? What is wrong with me?

Light ‘er up.
Oh, this is nice. A hint of complexity on the first puff. Nice. The richness of the tobacco is the flavor of the minute. Most multi-country tobacco filled cigars seem to be a joke. Especially, the expensive ones. Not so here…I can taste a wide swath of flavors that emanate from what appears to be a perfect choice of leaves.

I was right about this cigar. It tasted great nearly ROTT and now with a month, or so, on it, it is a showoff. A subtle cadence of mild black pepper, creaminess, caramel, chocolate, citrus hints, malt, and small notes of unidentifiable flavors that work as a team to flummox my palate.

Strength is an immediate strong medium. I shall be whimpering like a simp by the end of this marathon.

I only found one review. And it received an 85. Go figure. The cigar industry reviewers pretty much stayed away. The P.R. says it is a limited release that hit the shelves a year and a half ago. I found the cigar on several of the usual suspects online points of purchase. Maybe smokers didn’t want to spend $10 on a Punch that got little publicity.

The blend deserves better unless it goes south on me in the second half.
Transitions begin. Nice finish. Complexity is on the move. Strength is increasing. The burn line is behaving.

Yesterday, I reviewed the Leche de Mama MADURO by Cigar Federation. Same price: $10. What a dud. I cannot believe the difference a blender can make with the same tools. Although, I doubt Punch caroms off different tobacco farms looking for deals.

Well balanced in the sweet v. savory department. Easy going despite the accelerating strength profile. There is graham cracker, cinnamon, very malty, espresso, chocolate, caramel, berries, and cream. None overpowers the other.

I don’t understand this cigar being ignored by the cigar industry folks who write reviews. This is a bona fide good cigar. And no complaints about the price. Truth to power moment…I did get this from SBC when they had a sale, and I snagged a fiver for $7 per cigar. Makes it even sweeter.

You gotta love a cigar that begins with a soft bang of complexity and grows with each puff.
First sip of water and flavors just ooze like yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye.

I never comment about the cigar’s appearance as I smoke it. Breaking the logjam…It has that gorgeous oily sheen that is a pleasure to stop and take in.

With 6 different tobaccos, this is going to be one of those smokes where the whole outweighs its parts. The balance is impeccable.
See. I’m not very clever or witty when I like a cigar. Carry on.

A big jump of creaminess appears moments before the first third is complete. It hauls the load of bringing the other mentioned flavors to the forefront while maintaining its balance. Nuances aplenty.

The cinnamon bares its teeth now making it candy-like. In fact, it reminds me of a cinnamon candy apple on a stick. I loved those as a kid. You can keep the caramel covered ones. I loved that spiciness that slammed into your brain like a wayward bus driver. The snap of the apple and the hard cinnamon candy was orgasmic. (I was 10).

Bear claw. Cheese Danish. Chocolate fritter. Apple fritter. Cinnamon bun. I feel like I should break into song like Julie Andrews.

There are two other blends in this series: Broadleaf and Mata Fina. One reviewer said he preferred the others to the Habano. That’s fine. I like those other wrappers, but I am a big fan of Habano.

While I’m not a fan of big cigars, this one is so smooth that the journey is timeless. I can easily sit here for nearly two hours and really enjoy this stick. I dig a pony.

Nothing linear here. Constant forward motion. The complexity continues to dig deep and explore keeping my palate on the edge of its seat.
The construction is flawless, and the burn is spot on.

I have no idea how long this series of cigars will be available but I’m ready to buy another fiver. The regular online stores don’t carry them. But the boutique stores do…at full price. Well worth it. Punch could have been greedy like so many other brands are with new releases…I think they could have gotten away with a couple more bucks per stick. But the lack of reviews tells me no one was interested or cared for the cigar.

Another big leap. The complex nature is now full steam ahead. Yet, still keeping the flavor profile aligned and packed tight.

I’m not even close to the halfway point and the blend is soaring. I am going on a spending spree so I can attain more Habanos and give the other two a shot as well.

Go on to the boutique store websites and find something new for $10. No such thing. Not at this quality.

I watched an older HBO documentary in two parts called: “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.” If you’re a Beatles’ fan, you must watch it. Performances and all the Beatles commenting and video I’ve never seen. Martin Scorsese directed.

A moving carousel of impressions; steady as she goes.
The halfway point excites me. But then so does a good bowel movement.
Fingers crossed for big things now.

Strength raced past medium/full and is now brain melting. But the blend is so smooth in its approach that I’m not yet incontinent.

I like to wear Depends on the outside of my jeans when I go to the market.
The assault of nicotine begins. The laptop screen is fuzzy.

Smokers with fine tuned palates and those who can’t pick out flavors but know what they like will join arms and sing Kumbaya. A good blend doesn’t require sophistication on the part of the smoker…just a desire to smoke something gratifying.

I’m in savor mode. A killer blend now. The finish is a mile long. I slow down to a loiter.

As a kid, you ever have an old aunt with a huge goiter? And you couldn’t help but stare at it every time the woman spoke to you? Me neither.

Lawdy, lawdy, Miss Clawdy…I’m drifting into a blissful trance. I’m seeing dead people from the nicotine, but I don’t care. None of them put me in their will, so they can stand there all day.

Lips smacking. Lots of it. The character of this cigar causes involuntary things to happen…my boxers are mysteriously turned the wrong way…I reach down to my socks and scratch my balls…the cat is using one of them as a scratching post, so I shoo him away.

I’ve described all the flavors. Nothing new. But no subtractions either. Working as a team, the blend is standing tall.
I have found a gem. And all the evidence that it would be a great smoke is absent online. Go figure.
There must be tremendous aging on most of the tobaccos.

Only 2” to go. I normally say that during sex with Charlotte when she asks if it’s in yet?

The complexity is maxed out. I can’t imagine it getting better.

“A Horse with No Name” is playing. If not for the review, I’d tie a hangman’s noose and get to work.

In 1967, I went on a business trip with my dad. He gave me the car and I headed straight to Haight Ashbury. What a disappointment. Beggars, junkies, and stores selling blacklight posters of Jimi and Janis.

I have nothing left to say. I’ve said it…and probably more than once. A joyful cigar experience that is going to see its finale in a 2-hour saga.
I have zero criticisms. Get a fiver and tell me I’m wrong.


And now for something completely different:
This is a re-tread from May, 2014…

And now, my friends, another story from my rock god past…if you read my reviews, you are rolling your eyeballs right about now as I have told so many stories (And repeated many) about what it’s like to play big time rock n roll…so here’s another.

Normally, Curved Air headlined in all the arenas in England and Europe. But once in a while, we got to be the support act of a giant band of that era…the 1960’s-1970’s.

For one of those tours, we supported Emerson, Lake and Palmer for 4 gigs.
The first time we did sound check on that bill, I got a wild hair. Keith Emerson had a full-sized grand piano that was mechanically fixed so it would do 360 ° roll….with Keith on it. Head over heels.

I asked Keith if I could ride the piano. He laughed and said no one had ever asked to do that in any of the support groups they played with, so I felt honored as I climbed aboard. I guess no one wanted to vomit on his piano. I was a bit worried as I get car sick easily. Only rode the Wild Teacups once at Disneyland in Anaheim and puked my guts out when it was over.

To my horror, the only way you hang on to the piano is with your feet locked underneath a special bar on the bench. Nothing to hold you in place.

The piano began to roll. Slowly at first, and then faster and faster. I grabbed the keyboard like a cat. I was completely disoriented.

Now I’m spinning like crazy and I’m thinking that not only am I scared for my life but that I would be jettisoned like a rocket…meanwhile, Keith played complex parts while spinning. ????

After a few minutes, the piano slowed its roll, and I was able to get off and then fell flat on my face on the stage from being so dizzy.

I asked Keith how in the hell he did that while playing. He laughed. He saw that my face must have been green and took me to the bathroom in the arena, where he helped me to a stall where I threw up.

Each day we played with them, Keith asked me, like clockwork, if I wanted to ride the piano again? All the while laughing while asking. I politely declined.

I had some Cubans that Larry Coryell, the great father of jazz fusion guitar, had given me. And on the last night of playing with them, I asked Keith if he would like to join me for a smoke? His eyes lit up and we retired to his posh hotel room where he allowed no one else in but me. He ordered some lavish room service and we spent the night eating, drinking and smoking cigars. It doesn’t get much better than that. This band was one of my favorites.

And now for something completely different PART 2:

I think it was around 1986 and I was working for a small construction company (Bartec) of maybe 20 people in the office and another 80 in the field. We fabricated and installed structural steel. I was senior project manager. And I had another PM working for me.

I can’t remember names. I am slipping into darkness. Give me an amen. The owner was one of those entrepreneurial guys that not only owned this company, but another dozen possessions included a strip club.

He was Errol Flynn dashing. I wanted to have sex with him…and I’m straight.

He was married to Tippi Hedren (“The Birds”) who considered hubby an ATM machine. She had an animal preserve somewhere in Orange County whose main mission was to save lions. Tippi’s license plate said, “ROAR.”

Now of course you know that Melanie Griffith is her daughter. And back in ’86, Melanie was a real looker. She hadn’t married Don Johnson yet but was married to the actor Steven Bauer…of Al Pacino “Scar Face” fame.

I remember them visiting the shop many times so they could pick up stepdad and go to the “Club” for lunch.

I was one of two project managers and was upstairs by ourselves next to the company kitchen…
I remember his name: Luis Barrenechea. We called him Lou.

Anyway, Lou would come upstairs around 2 PM after his lunch with the wife and kids. And he would sit there with a bottle of vodka and get shit faced all afternoon bemoaning his status in life and all the ways that Tippi was draining him of dough. Since there were only two of us up there, he vented like a mother…especially the drunker he got.

One day, we engineers got an assignment. Alfred Hitchcock had made moves on Tippi often, (During the filming of the movie, “The Birds.”) and without success, or so we heard from Tippi.

At the end of the movie, Hitch gave Tippi one of the first portable radios. It was the size of a boat anchor with a massive battery in it. And it had long ago stopped working.

So the other PM, me, and the purchasing agent, were given the task of figuring out how to replace the long dead battery and make this piece of junk work. We were told it was our number one priority while our projects went to shit.

We spent two solid days on the phone, all 3 of us and we got nowhere. When we saw Tippi in Lou’s office at the end of those 2 days, we talked to her about our fruitless efforts and all we got was a perfunctory, “Boys. You can do better than that. I am counting on you. This was a gift from my dear friend, Alfred Hitchcock, and I want the GODDAMM radio to work. You got me, boys?”

Now we knew why Lou drank himself stupid in the afternoons.

I remember when Melanie visited. She and Steven would be hanging waiting for mom and step pop to get going so they could get the hell outta’ there.
I got the balls one day and introduced myself. Both were very gracious, unlike their mom.

I, of course, bragged about my Curved Air days to them…and they were impressed. The Police was still together, and I told my tales of hanging with them at gigs. Which was true.

After that, Steven would come up to engineering and talk to me about rock n roll. This guy really knew his stuff and we had a great time. A true musicologist.

Work stopped and my boss was thrilled to be a part of it. Melanie would always have to come up and drag him out of engineering but then got caught up in the stories too. We did a lot of laughing that disturbed the worker bees downstairs.

Tippi would then come up and see what the holdup was. She had no interest in rock n roll and since engineering let her down over that stupid radio, she wanted no part of us.

I only worked there for about a year and then moved on to work for my father’s newly opened construction company.

But there was a time when Melanie Griffith thought I was cute and would always give me a kiss and a hug when she left….and a time when Bauer thought I was cool too.
Now, I’m just plain washed up cool. Time marches on.


11 replies

  1. Now why did you have to bring up that abomination of a song, “A Horse with no Name”?

    A lot of musicians make fun of common 3-chord songs. This is worse, a 2-chord song that just goes around in circles.

    Absolutely horrendous. How was that ever a hit? Lots of drugs, is my guess (both for the fans, and as payola!)

  2. Young Phil…I love you, man…
    You can play guitar in my band anytime.
    Old Phil

  3. As long as I don’t have to learn Darryl’s Circle of Fifths clusterfuck (holy crap, how many different “Vivaldi” versions does he have? “Vivaldi”, “Vivaldi with Cannons”, “Ultra Vivaldi”, “Bride of Vivaldi 😉 “)

  4. I was 24, living in London, and broke and I passed the audition.
    I was never more than a sideman in that band. Way and Sonja wrote all the songs and arrangements.
    And Stewart soloed all the time.
    I had never heard of the band. Didn’t know they were a big deal over there.
    So, I got to play my heart out, tour, chicks, get paid, record albums, and sight see all through the Commonwealth island and all of Europe.
    Didn’t matter that I never cared for their prog rock compositions.
    I brought Funky, jazzy, fusion, McCartney, Jack Bruce, Tim Bogert, Stanley Clarke and Jaco aggression to the rhythm section which is what they thought they wanted.
    But I went up against egos I had never seen in my young life.
    I stuck with it for two years, got fired, played with more people, and came home to L.A. with bragging rights.
    It launched my recording studio. My side projects. And all the other good stuff too.
    People assume that because I played bass in the band that I liked the music.
    I WAS 24-26!
    It was a dream come true. You pay me and show me a good time, I’ll play anything.

  5. No sane 20-something year old who had the skills would pass that up, nor should they!

    You got your introduction to the music *business* (and how it almost always has zero to do with the actual music) much earlier than most, and at a way lower cost. For every mega act like Curved Air, there are how many thousands that never go anywhere, and get screwed by their label?

    And for each of those, several tens of thousands who play and barely break even if they’re lucky, and end up just doing it for fun (that’s most of us!) I’ve never seen any skill that requires so much time investment get so underpaid and mistreated in most places.

  6. Everyone got screwed by their label.
    You learned with each successive contract.
    For the most part, the cream comes to the top. There is a lot of corruption in the music industry which is being destroyed by sharing. They deserve it for all the cheating and lying and embezzlement they involved themselves with…it was just doing business. The band or musician got a big ol dildo up their collective asses.
    My last big project, the 1983 Eddie Munster Whatever Happened to Eddie? single and video, I went full businessman and signed a record deal with Rocshire Records. It was a production deal. This means I present finished product, on my dime, to the record company and they just needed to press it, distribute it, PR the song and the music video, get us on TV everywhere, sales programs, and rake me in 25% of the gross…from the first cover sold. The FBI taking down Rocshire before I got my dough had a stuning effect oy life. Some really funny shit happened with that drugged/alcoholic wild man.

  7. Katman Phil,
    You’re a pioneer.
    It’s a bassist’s terrain, your chutzpa.
    Not enough people dare to speak easy.
    Here’s to only one cigar per day?
    Your stories are golden.
    To good health, you sweet angel.
    You are blessed. You are worthy.
    Stay well. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/01/pfizer-vaccine-has-91-efficacy-for-up-to-six-months-trial-shows
    – Lara

  8. Uncle Katman has eluded death once again! Shit Phil u got more lives than a stray cat. Thanks to the cosmic muffin for delivering you back to the land of the living to smoke cigars and cook up snappy reviews for our reading pleasure. Seriously….I was starting to suffer from withdrawal. Glad to see you have discovered another diamond in the rough. A Punch of all brands to boot. I know that everyone loves to read your crazed rants when you review a dog turd but I personally get a kick out of reading reviews where your merkin bursts into flames of joy for a smoke that delivers the goods. Now that I have had my Katman fix I can calm down and relax. Just have to snag a few of these Punch Store Press Habano sticks for myself to see if the magic carpet ride is the same for me.

  9. Hang on a sec…I’m using the cat to put out my merkin. The thing is like a drummer in Spinal Tap.
    It feels good to smoke a cigar. It feels good to write a review.
    Eluding death is just one of my special traits. I’m faster than a speeding building. Taller than a bullet.
    But the flu is just a pain in the arse. I’ve only eluded death by not jumping off the second floor balcony because I spend too much time on Netflix.
    I smoked a Punch last night…the review cigar. My palate was crispy by then and I did not have the same experience as the one I enjoyed when it was my first cigar of the day. It’s always my favorite cigar of the day.
    I’ll be back on it either this weekend or Monday.

  10. Katman, I love your writing and your reviews. I have defiantly expanded my cigar selection due to your reviews. Punch has recently came out with the Punch Kung Pow, what are the chances I could send you some to get your expert opinion and review on them?

  11. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for loving me…I love you too.
    I have some Kung Pows hibernating at this moment, but thank you for the kind offer.
    Be well,

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